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Reducing Climate Change: More Plants, Less Animal Agriculture

By HERWriter
 
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Reducing Climate Change: Less Animal Agriculture, More Plants Via Unsplash

Have you changed the light bulbs in your house to fluorescents and LEDs? Do you take your own grocery bags to the store? Do you keep your car tuned up and tires inflated? This can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent.(2)

Yes? That's good.

Have you stopped buying bottled water?

You have? That's great. In 2006, it is estimated that the processing of water bottles for American consumption alone required the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil and the bottling process produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon.(4)

Want to get more serious about reducing your environmental impact?

Stop flying. If you won’t or can’t stop, never take a private jet, and always book coach. Upgrades to first class on full planes don’t make a difference. Take fewer vacations a shorter distance away.(3)

Food Production and Climate Change

These are responsible choices. But a worldwide reduction of carbon emissions requires a worldwide change not just in habits, but in lifestyle. If you’re serious about climate change, you need to overhaul your diet.

One-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to food production, and up to 80 percent of that can be attributed to livestock.(6)

Agriculture is the major industry adding toxins to the ecosystem. Over 70 percent of global fresh water is used in agricultural production(1) — think watering crops to feed livestock, providing water for livestock directly, processing meat and dairy, and sanitation. (5)

Food production impacts:(1)

- Habitat change, e.g., depleted rain forests

- Water use

- Overexploitation of fisheries

- Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution

“Agriculture and food consumption are identified as one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions,” reported the United Nations Environmental Programs (UNEP) 2010 report.(1)

It’s Time to Reassess Our Meat and Dairy Intake

Reducing your impact on the planet will cost you some cheeseburgers.

1) Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production. UNEP.org. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/Portals/24102/PDFs/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report.pdf

2) 25+ Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. cotap.org. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
http://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint

3) When it comes to carbon footprints, location and lifestyle matter. October 4, 2016.
http://news.berkeley.edu/2011/04/13/when-it-comes-to-carbon-footprints-location-and-lifestyle-matter

4) Bottled Water and Energy Fact Sheet. PacInst.org. October 4, 2016.
http://pacinst.org/publication/bottled-water-and-energy-a-fact-sheet

5)Livestock water use.  The USGS Water Science School. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
http://water.usgs.gov/edu/wulv.html

6) Springmann, Marco et al. Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change. PNAS.org. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
http://www.pnas.org/content/113/15/4146.full

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.